Local News

Lake Wheeler beach closes due to bacteria

Posted August 4, 2009
Updated August 6, 2009

— Lake Wheeler in Raleigh is closed to recreational activities due to elevated levels of bacteria in the water.

Wake County Environmental Services closed Lake Wheeler Beach on Tuesday. Routine tests showed levels of enterococci, which can cause infections and lead to diarrhea, exceeded standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Enterococci is typically found in the digestive tracts and feces of warm-blooded animals.

Acceptable levels of enterococci should not exceed 60 colony forming units (cfu) per 100 milliliters. At Beaverdam Beach, test found levels over 100 cfu.

“Our goal is to eliminate the potential for citizens to come into contact with excessive levels of bacteria, as that could result in creating illness conditions," Wake County Environmental Services Director Tommy Esqueda said in a statement.

"We will continue to collect water samples on a daily basis for the area and reopen the lake for swimming as soon as the bacteria levels fall below the EPA-established standards.

The city already prohibits swimming at Lake Wheeler, but does normally allow fishing, water skiing, paddle boating and tubing.

The closure of the beach area does not restrict fishing on the lake, nor does it restrict waterskiing and tubing in the lake. The beach will be closed for primary contact activities such as kayaking, sunfish, sailboating and windsurfing.

Beaverdam, Falls Lake and Sandling beaches were closed for several days in July for the same reason. Beaverdam and Holly Point beaches were closed in June of 2008 after tests detected the bacteria.


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  • mustangyts Aug 5, 2009

    Its not the geese or ducks or any other animal, its humans! The animals are there year round and the problem only pops up in the summer. When the beaches at falls closed, many of the same people came to other lakes. Its a cultural problem, not a problem with animals. Iam a fisherman and I have witnessed people relieving themselves in the lake. I guess its not PC to point out what is causing the problem. As usual we skirt the facts that are not PC and place the blame elsewhere.

  • live_the_truth Aug 5, 2009

    With bird feces all over the place - duh! Stop allowing people to feed them on the beach. No wonder the bacteria is so high!

  • time4real Aug 5, 2009

    shoot the birds and get rid of them, but this is no surprise, wake county loves them some poo stew! let's go swimmin' y'all!

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Aug 4, 2009

    Simple fix. Get rid of the people that keep dropping "waste" in the lakes.

  • Adelinthe Aug 4, 2009


    And they're installing a system to make this a part of the Raleigh Public Water System.


    And ya can't do anything about the ducks and geese; they were there first.

    God bless.


  • tooter9565 Aug 4, 2009

    I wonder if the geese and ducks have anything to do with this since there are plenty of them at this location and mix in the hot weather and well things grow!